at Marathon Parkway
224-8787, Fax 631-3319
Douglaston Manor, located where Commonwealth Boulevard and Marathon Parkway meet, has a proud history. It was once the North Hills Golf Club, then was sold to the city. The handsome Spanish mansion perched on the highest spot in Queens overlooking a rolling 18-hole golf course reflects that. The golf course within the city limits with a view of the twin towers and Statue of Liberty, survives.
In Restaurant Associates' heyday, they managed the restaurant and introduced all-you-can-eat, peel-your-own shrimp with a waiter going from table to table dispensing them from a bucket. Now, "International" has been attached to the name. It reflects the catering in the five party rooms. They (Tommy Chan, general manager and Ray Esposito, catering manager) aim to please, presenting ethnic dishes to match patrons' wishes.
Basically the a la carte menu is Italian-American. On Thursday there is a lobster buffet which was always impressive and remains so today; lobster, shrimp and seafood abound. And there are two carving stations, one of which always has fresh ham with crispy skin.
We went there on a Wednesday. The Glass Room was filled to overflowing with a group of retired detectives, so we were seated in the large red room with an alcove by the terrace reserved for diners. Wednesday is Latin Dance Night. There's a free dance lesson from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and the Dance Club follows. The Latin beat of the DJ - encircled on high by three flaming basins - never stops. The undulation never stops. And on Friday it's Singles Night with a DJ providing the beat.
The food was good. That's the bottom line. We began with huge mussels bathed in marinara and the soup of the day. A nice salad followed.
He was interested in veal and there were choices a plenty. His marsala, served with broccoli and roasted potatoes, met with approval.
I had a yen for something light - bouillabaisse, the French meal-in-a-dish fish soup. So Douglaston Manor Bouillabaisse it was.
As the waiter approached our table, I realized that he was carrying a platter heaped high with seafood. I have had versions where the broth is served separately, so I wasn't concerned. But then I noticed that it was red, marinara red! It was quite a stretch to call this bouillabaisse. Ciapino, maybe. Bouillabaisse, not really. But it was good - squid, shrimp and the body cavity of a lobster (nary a smidgen of fish!) And there was linguini, a small wad tucked in the left-hand corner. If you're ever on a quiz program and the million-dollar question is, "What is Douglaston Manor Bouillabaisse," you've got it made. Otherwise use the Association of Food Journalists Foodspell definition: Bouillabaisse - French, a fish soup.
There were other intriguing seafood items (the largest menu category): Surf and chop, lobster tails and pork chop. Manor shrimp, large gulf shrimp with white clam sauce over farfalle (sounds great). The broiled seafood combination is stuffed sole, butterfly shrimp and scallops served with rice.
His dessert was cheesecake, New York style. My chocolate mousse cake was the kind that makes chocoholics starry-eyed. The deadly bottom layer is a cross between a truffle and chocolate fudge, topped by a white chocolate mousse like layer. Savor it in small bites, preferably accompanied by espresso. The super sundae is really super. Imagine this: five balls of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla and strawberry), fudge sauce, whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, raspberries, blueberries and pineapple, plus chopped nuts. And then there are bocci balls served with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles as well as a cherry.
So, choose your night to meet your taste.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In a Spanish mansion on an 18-hole golf course. Highest spot in Queens. View of Manhattan skyline. Thursday Lobster buffet. DJ: Wednesday Latin party, Friday Singles night. Good food. Nice service. Catering to 300.
Hot Seafood Antipasto (stuffed shrimp, baked clams, fried calamari, fried sole & zucchini with rich tomato sauce)...$12.95
Double Cut Prime Ribs (au jus, served Fri., Sat, Sun)...$20.95
Manor Chicken (breast of chicken stuffed with spinach, mozarella, herbs & spices with rich mushroom sauce)...$14.95
Cusine: Italian American
Setting: At a golf course, on a hill
Hours: D 6 days. Closed Monday
Parking: Lot in front
Children: Own menu
Credit cards: All major
Private parties: To 300.
Handicapped access: Yes
©2001 Community News Group
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